Intent-Based Marketing for Manufacturers: How to Win in Niche Industries

Written by Dan Konstantinovsky
Strategic Marketing, RH Blake

Intent-Based Marketing for Manufacturers: How to Win in Niche Industries


As a B2B manufacturing marketer of a complex product or service offering, you uniquely understand the importance of marketing to multiple purchase influencers within an organization. According to Gartner, 6-10 people are involved in making a B2B purchase decision.

Gaining insight into when your prospect is considering a new approach, launching a new program or product, or is dissatisfied with their existing supplier is critical to winning. After all, if we wait until there’s a defined RFP and Supply Chain is driving the conversation, the opportunity to differentiate your offering and value (and protect margins) minimizes.

But gaining this level of insight is challenging as customers aren’t likely to proactively reach out and share these internal developments until they are ready to buy; B2B buyers typically prefer to self-educate at their own pace and then connect with a supplier on their own terms and timeframe.

digital marketing roadmap

Free Download: 5 Key Steps to Developing a Digital Marketing Roadmap

A Must Have Digital Marketing Guide for Manufacturers

    Intent-Based Marketing for Manufacturers: How to Win in Niche Industries


    Written by Dan Konstantinovsky
    Strategic Marketing, RH Blake

    Intent-Based Marketing for Manufacturers: How to Win in Niche Industries

    As a B2B manufacturing marketer of a complex product or service offering, you uniquely understand the importance of marketing to multiple purchase influencers within an organization. According to Gartner, 6-10 people are involved in making a B2B purchase decision.

    Gaining insight into when your prospect is considering a new approach, launching a new program or product, or is dissatisfied with their existing supplier is critical to winning. After all, if we wait until there’s a defined RFP and Supply Chain is driving the conversation, the opportunity to differentiate your offering and value (and protect margins) minimizes.

    But gaining this level of insight is challenging as customers aren’t likely to proactively reach out and share these internal developments until they are ready to buy; B2B buyers typically prefer to self-educate at their own pace and then connect with a supplier on their own terms and timeframe.

    Enter intent-based marketing

    Rather than passively waiting and crossing their fingers that the prospect will reach out, leading B2B manufacturers uniquely understand the importance of getting into the conversation early and relying on intent-based marketing to develop new opportunities.

    digital marketing roadmap

    Free Download: 5 Key Steps to Developing a Digital Marketing Roadmap

    A Must Have Digital Marketing Guide for Manufacturers

      What is intent-based marketing?

      Intent-based marketing collects and leverages information about a company or a person’s online activities to better predict purchase behavior and make more effective marketing decisions.

      The key driver for intent-based marketing is having context into the reason(s) why someone may be visiting your website. For example, are they visiting because they’re an existing customer and need service support, are they doing a research project, comparing prices, or are they interested in learning more about your specific offerings and/or capabilities?

      Intent-based marketing for B2B manufacturers can use two types of data

      Internal Intent Data

      Developed by leveraging any technologies your company may already be using to capture engagement with your online properties (e.g. CRM, Marketing Automation system, search engine data (e.g., Google AdWords, Google Analytics), behavior analytics technology, etc.) Examples of internal intent data may include pages visited, assets downloaded, emails forwarded, social media post engagement, time spent on a particular page/property, etc.

      Leveraging these types of signals enables you to identify patterns of ideal-fit prospects that are demonstrating and indirectly communicating buying signals and then create marketing priorities.

      Another way to leverage this data is through more intelligent outreach; no more marketing activities solely based on when you completed them. With intent-based insight you’re able to deliver and better leverage the right marketing message to the right audience at the right time. For example, if a website visitor engaged with your experience in the oil/gas space, consider sending them a related oil/gas case study at an appropriate interval.

      External third-party intent data

      This is information that is collected and aggregated by external networks and industry publications and then sold. This type of data is captured through various signals including tracking of IP addresses and website data from website cookies.

      Third-party intent data is uniquely valuable for identifying which articles or assets users are engaging with and/or downloading around various sites, search terms being performed, webinars attended and social media activity.

      Third-party technology providers also monitor surge data, or interest spikes, in specific topics and by specific organization. By having access to a baseline of engagement, these technologies compare it on an ongoing basis to identify surges in activity. Data may include factors such as searches, downloads and level of engagement (e.g., scroll velocity).

      One challenge with third-party intent-based data is not being able to see exactly who within those organizations is engaging with your content. Unlike internal data, you may have to assume who you should target based on existing knowledge of your target customer personas. Thus, there’s a chance you’re reaching out to people at the account who may not have expressed interest in your product or service.

      6-10 people are involved in making a B2B purchase decision source: Gartner

      How can B2B manufacturing marketers use intent-based marketing to win?

      One opportunity for leveraging third-party intent data is to connect it to your internal database to better prioritize your marketing and sales programs. And to do this effectively, timeliness needs to be considered as challenges being addressed this week may be different than next week. Having content created for your different personas and buying journey steps is critical.

      By having intent insight, you’re able to better prioritize your marketing investment; no more LinkedIn campaigns targeting hundreds or thousands of VPs of Operations! You’re now able to identify the exact company and target the precise people at that company who influence the buying decision.

      To begin looking into third-party intent data, identifying a technology that aligns with your target customers and internal systems is key. A few intent-based marketing technologies to consider:

      • Demandbase
      • 6sense
      • Clearbit
      • Bombora
      • InsideView

      Intent-based marketing can help manufacturers enhance their marketing program

      Intent-based marketing has many benefits when coupled with a deep understanding of your customers. Although much like any other marketing activity, it’s not a magic bullet. It’s one tool leading manufacturing marketers are using to help improve their marketing program effectiveness.